“Mental Lights For Thinking” by Dr. Joseph Bailey

At one of our daily Family Talks I brought up my observation that my grandson tended to focus only on one “here and now” thing of most concern to him. This spurred a discussion on the specific mental light patterns best suited for different types of thinking. We started with the Bowling Pin Concept for planning his life. Here, Pins are set up inside a triangle-each representing an event he will have to address in life-and all together they symbolize a viable organism.


If Pin A is his present major concern, Pin B might represent his Career; Pin C, his present family; Pin D, his anticipated future family; Pin E, his daily Selfhood Greatness improvement practices; Pin F, his friends; and so forth. Thus, when a decision about Pin A is made, all the other Pins need to be in the Spotlight (a strong beam of light that illuminates a small area) as well so that they are not neglected or so they can be enhanced or maintained intact, at the same time. For example, if a decision is to be made about his career, then he must keep in mind the effect it will have on his wife and children-will they be harmed or enhanced? In my work I create Classifications where a Spotlight is used. If I learn something about a subject in general, some of that material will apply not only to Pin A but also to Pins C and E. After putting that information in the Pin C class and Pin E class, it may rest there untouched until a year later when I get back to it. In this way, the Spotlight on the entire organism allows for the entire organism to be expanded from the inside out.


Next we talked about how ones various forms of attention can be illustrated by the Archery Pad Concept. It consists of a Bull’s Eye in its center, the intended target for archers who shoot arrows at it. Rippling out from the “bull’s eye” (space I) is 4 more transitional ringed spaces separated by 5 line circles to make a total of ten parts. Anything beyond the peripheral line circle (i.e. the 5th line circle or 10th part) is off the archery pad. When people are engaged in “small-talk” about a subject, they cover all aspects of the Archery Pad, except for the bull’s eye. The appearance of what is discussed resembles a “Floodlight” (a broad beam intense light on an area larger than a Spotlight) on the Archery Pad-consisting of a mixture of the theme of the subject + the memories it stimulates (apperceptions) + what the descriptions of it bring to mind + how the discussion is interpreted and for what purpose. A “Floodlight” from an electric light bulb-as with the ordinary light coming from the sun or from an open fire-is radiated in disorderly patterns of colors, each having many different intensities and directions. Thus, it is called Incoherent. Sunlight removes darkness from everything in ones vision. This is essential to see the “Big Picture” of the scope of any subject or of some meaningful long-term course where foresight and forethought are required.


Focused Attention can be analogized to a Laser light whereby every wave of light is identical to every other wave of light produced from the same source-meaning they are of the same size (wavelengths), direction, and intensity. By being coherent, Laser light provides the energy necessary to excite or stimulate all that is involved. Focused Attention is like a Laser light in the sense of it having coherence of all mental faculties working interdependently to find the essence (the “What it is”) of the point (bull’s eye) of the discussion. This effect from specific focusing was illustrated in my boyhood game of using a magnifying glass to streamline the sun’s rays onto a ‘bull’s eye’ so as to set dry leaves on fire. It is from discovering the essence of the issue at hand that gives rise to a “Seed” or to a Principle. But since these enter ones mind very softly, gently, or subtly, it requires ones full attention.


I learned the beginning of this process from always believing I needed to hear jazz while studying, in order to help keep my sanity. But when I started doing higher realms of thinking, it became clear that my Attention power was reduced by anything that also demanded some of its energy be shared, even to the tiniest degree (e.g. background music, multi-tasking). A Flashlight of attention gives a dash or splash of light, which people use to get a gist (a main idea) of what is presented. That is insufficient for decision making or problem solving. [Bailey II, JA.  Supreme Thinking—Rational, Poetic, & Visionary—of Ancient Africans]


About Dr. Joseph BaileyJoseph A. Bailey II, MD, FACS, was reared in Wilson and Greensboro, North Carolina where he became an Eagle Scout (twice). Then he attended the University of Michigan, Morehouse College, and Meharry Medical School; interned at Los Angeles County General Hospital; and as a USA Air Force captain in the Philippines was chief of the Family Practice Clinic in charge of 10,000 troops and their families. On off-duty hours he helped care for wounded soldiers flown in from Viet Nam.


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